A lot of young artists play to their strengths, but being young artists they don’t have a firm grasp on their own identity yet, so their strengths resemble that of their influences. Finding an untraveled musical path in today’s saturated market is no easy task. The likes of indie-pop, synthpop and alternative R&B artists have hit a point of cultural dominance. So it would make sense that their footsteps would linger, leaving traces of their sound and style in the music of aspiring artists.
Enter Kacy Hill, GOOD Music’s newest signee. It is quickly apparent why Kanye signed her after only hearing ‘Experience’, a single song. The talent is there, lyrics beautifully sung in an airy legato that seemingly evaporate into the instrumentals they glide over. Somewhere in close proximity to James Blake, Ellie Goulding and The Weeknd you will find Hill’s spectrum of sound. At least the sound of her EP, Bloo.
While the synthesized electronic elements dominate the general architecture, there are enough organic elements to notice. Being that the project is her first real introduction into the big leagues, it’s skimpy five-song, 20 minute length bears a lot of weight. An interesting decision to note right away is that the last two tracks on the project are producer remixes of the first two. So really we only have three new tracks to help acquaint ourselves with Hill.
The first, ‘Foreign Fields’ represents her almost immediate transition into her new lifestyle thanks to the likes of Kanye West and company. It combines separated piano notes and an almost static-like electronic element that graduate to a charged-up chorus, then dies back down into her ethereal vocals and it works wonders. On ‘Arm’s Length’, Hill releases some dormant energy as she channels a distanced relationship. Piano notes hit like a hammer and are backed by a drum and synth. The chorus is empowering and reflects something that those with ears for radio music will definitely recognize; not to put it into the category of radio music, but it would definitely thrive in that environment. Then a song written in a similar vein, ‘Shades Of Blue’, that moves from its familiar electronic elements via the room-filling bashing of drums.
As I mentioned before, the final two tracks are remixes and don’t really give us any more of an insight into Hill other than maybe her own musical interests. The Stockholm-based producer, Young Gud’s remix of ‘Foreign Fields’ is good, yet not much more than we have come to expect from mainstay producers like Avicii or Zedd. Ending the album on an unfortunate low note, the remix of ‘Arm’s length’ is almost completely void of Hill’s vocals and producer Bodhi’s remix is more generically representative of low-level dance pop than it should be, given its great source material which turns out to be much more interesting. Ultimately, we are given the briefest glimpse of material from an artist who clearly has the talent, both in singing and writing, to carry a project longer and more ambitious. Hopefully, her debut album is wider in scope and the remixes are left to the YouTube channels. But for now, we are given at least three, very telling tracks that show signs of someone who could be the next big artist.